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Burgers for a Cause to support Challenge Day at ECS

Five dollars from every bacon cheeseburger sold will be directed to Challenge Day.
Burgers for a Cause is happening on Feb. 27 to support Challenge Day at ECS.

ESTEVAN - Black Beard's Restaurant is bringing back its Burgers for a Cause fundraiser to support the upcoming Challenge Day at the Estevan Comprehensive School. 

Five dollars from every bacon cheeseburger meal sold on Feb. 27 will be directed to the Challenge Day program. Burgers for a Cause was a popular promotion for the restaurant in 2020 and 2021, and has been held a few times for special promotions since.

Challenge Day is slated for March 12 and 13 at the school. All Grade 9 students will be divided into two groups of about 100 people, and each group will have a full one-day experience. This marks the first time Challenge Day has been at ECS since 2014, and the school and its community council are getting ready. 

When the return of the transformational, experiential workshop was announced in November 2023, the goal was to raise $20,000 to cover the cost of bringing the event to Estevan, as well as to find volunteers and sponsors for lunches. As of Feb. 26, most goals have been reached, thanks to the community support, said ECS principal James Jones and school community council (SCC) representative Kelly McConnell.

"We're on track to have a really great two-day event coming up here in March, so we're super excited for it," Jones said.

"We've done lots of fundraising, we've got lots of donations in. We're having a Burger for a Cause and that'll be our last big fundraiser. And then we'll see where we're at. But we're very close to reaching our fundraising goal, so we should be good," McConnell added.

Their main fundraiser was a cash calendar and it was successful. The ECS student representative council (SRC) also helped sell tickets during one of the Estevan Bruins games and at the Estevan Market Mall, and also assisted with Burgers for a Cause. A letter campaign also helped, and they received a number of donations from local businesses. Local service clubs support ECS as well.

"Local service clubs and organizations have met us either with monetary donations or with volunteers. There's been an overwhelming response from adult volunteers in the community," Jones noted. "We need to have a minimum of 25 adult volunteers each day. And I would say that we've met that goal and probably surpassed it. We've got lots of organizations, businesses and people that are behind it."

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to bring the Challenge Day to a school, but the event organizers have "an in-depth planning portal," said Jones, which guides the schools with where they need to be when. For the ECS now, it's mainly some fine-tuning that's left to be done before the date.

"We have to get the gymnasium ready and different things like that, but facilities at ECS will take care of that. We have a hard-working caretaking team. Curtis Hack and commercial cooking class are going to be responsible for feeding Grade 9 students. We've had two generous donors come forward who are going to sponsor the lunches for the two days, so students won't need to leave," said Jones.

"Everything's on track and looks good. We are excited to host this event," McConnell added. "I can't wait to see how this turns out, and hopefully, we'll host it again next year."

Grade 9 students heard of the exciting opportunity at the end of last year, and Jones said they are looking forward to the new experience.

"Prior to the Christmas break, we brought all of the Grade 9 students into the cafeteria, and we were able to showcase a couple of different videos of Challenge Day in the past. We also had Hannah Battersby from Estevan who participated in Challenge Day back in 2014. Hannah gave a personal testimony about her own experience with Challenge Day, how it shaped her and impacted her life. And I think that was very well received by the students, lots of positive feedback from that," Jones shared. "I think the student body is excited."

The day-long experiential workshop will allow the participating students to experience powerful love and belonging, connect across lines of difference and move towards creating the culture they want in their school, says the event's description. The Challenge Day activities are centred around core competencies that help to support social-emotional learning, including self-management, self-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Challenge Day is appropriate for Grade 7-12 students, however, ECS has historically offered it to its Grade 9s since they are new to the school and would carry that knowledge and attitude into their future years in high school and then into their adult lives.

Jones thanked the community for getting behind the event and supporting them.

"We've been very pleased with the community support. If it wasn't for the generous, supportive businesses and individuals in this community, events like this wouldn't happen. So just a big thanks to everybody who's got behind this cause and sees the value in it, and we hope that it has a positive impact on the student body here at ECS," Jones said.